Football for Peace
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n Saturday, Eastern Mirror carried a photo of Peruvian women in Lima playing football in skirts and wearing sandals! This may intrigue our sportsmen because Nagas are very much addicted to football wearing boots and knickers/shorts. The game was introduced into the Naga Hills sometime during the British administration over a century ago but it took decades to systematize it.Despite lack of documentation, most historians agree that some type of a ball game has been played for at least over 3,000 years. The origins of the game can be seen in games played in China, Japan, Egypt, Greece and Rome before our modern game developed in England. The nativity of modern-day soccer must be credited to Britain. It was also known as the association football, with Scotland and England being the co-founders of the systematic game of soccer.
Early growth of the modern soccer started in England. Some amusing facts even mention that the first ball used was the head of some Danish brigand. It is said that during medieval times, the old form of soccer used to allow many ill practices like kicking, punching, biting and gouging. Sometimes the competition grew fierce and masses got so wild that there were frequent incidents of violence during the game—as it still does today. Accordingly, King Edward III banned soccer in 1365. In 1424 King James I of Scotland also proclaimed in the Parliament— “Na man play at the Fute-ball” (No man shall play football).
In1815, the Cambridge Rules came into effect. Football was segregated into two groups; some colleges and schools opted for Rugby rules that allowed tripping, shin kicking and also carrying the ball. These rules were exclusively prohibited as per the Cambridge rules.
The history of modern-day soccer was established in October 1863. Firmly establishing the foundation of soccer in 1869, the Football Association strictly banned any kind of handling of the ball. Soccer’s popularity spread rapidly during the 1800s as British sailors, traders and soldiers introduced the sport to different parts of the globe.
Italians, Austrians and Germans drew to Europe, while Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil adopted the sport in South America. FIFA was established in 1904 and organized the first world cup in Uruguay.
The urban form of soccer set up by the Football Association in 1863 in London was a male sport played by all ages of men and was popularized as men’s favorite pastime.
However, there were casual competitions in Scotland and parts of England of soccer matches between married and unmarried women during late 19th century. In 1951, the first women’s league was established and things changed from then on. The first professional women’s league took birth in 2001.
Today, there are numerous legendary footballers galore. However, Brazilian athlete Pele is still regarded among the greats. An excerpt of his book “My Life and the Beautiful Game” is a lesson in College English textbook.
The Classic Club and Royal Club sponsor football tournaments every year particularly in Kohima but the game is played all over the State under whatever sponsorship. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, himself and ardent sportsman initiated Dr. T Ao Trophy. The good doctor had not been duly recognized during his life time. He had more respected in the Mohammedan Sporting Club. He was India’s first football captain during 1948 Olympics in London. He became famous for playing barefoot!
So, keep on playing “Football for Peace!”